AL FAAB Factor: Sano-ing in July

AL FAAB Factor: Sano-ing in July

This article is part of our AL FAAB Factor series.

This is our weekly look at American League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
2. Estimate how much of your free-agent budget you should bid on them.

One size does not fit all, and we could never hope to encompass all league structures, so bids are based on:

• 12-team league (either AL or Mixed, we'll specify)
• 5x5 categories
• $100 FAAB budget

Starting Pitching

Cody Anderson, Indians – Through three starts, Anderson has a 0.76 ERA (3.03 FIP) with 10 strikeouts and one walk over 23.2 innings. He's obviously not as good as his ERA suggests, as you can see from his strikeouts, but the control is outstanding and if he can keep that up, he'll continue to find success in the majors. In the minors this season he had a 1.89 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 14 walks over 71.1 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. He needs to be owned in more leagues, at least until he cools down. This week he gets the Astros at home. Mixed: $4; AL: $10.

Felix Doubront, Blue Jays – Doubront was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday and immediately chipped in with 2.1 innings against the Tigers, where he gave up one earned run. He's in line to start against the White Sox and Royals on the road this coming week, which gives him value in AL-only formats as he gets

This is our weekly look at American League free agents. We have two goals for this article:

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
2. Estimate how much of your free-agent budget you should bid on them.

One size does not fit all, and we could never hope to encompass all league structures, so bids are based on:

• 12-team league (either AL or Mixed, we'll specify)
• 5x5 categories
• $100 FAAB budget

Starting Pitching

Cody Anderson, Indians – Through three starts, Anderson has a 0.76 ERA (3.03 FIP) with 10 strikeouts and one walk over 23.2 innings. He's obviously not as good as his ERA suggests, as you can see from his strikeouts, but the control is outstanding and if he can keep that up, he'll continue to find success in the majors. In the minors this season he had a 1.89 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 14 walks over 71.1 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. He needs to be owned in more leagues, at least until he cools down. This week he gets the Astros at home. Mixed: $4; AL: $10.

Felix Doubront, Blue Jays – Doubront was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday and immediately chipped in with 2.1 innings against the Tigers, where he gave up one earned run. He's in line to start against the White Sox and Royals on the road this coming week, which gives him value in AL-only formats as he gets back to life pitching in the AL East. Before his promotion, he had a 2.44 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 43 strikeouts and 18 walks over 48 innings at Buffalo. If he does well this week, he may stick in the rotation in the second half, though the Blue Jays figure to be active in the trade market for a starting pitcher that would bounce Doubront from the rotation. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Kevin Gausman, Orioles – Finally, the Orioles have booted Bud Norris and his 6.63 ERA to the bullpen and given Gausman a shot at sticking in the rotation. It's deserved, as last season he had a 3.57 ERA (3.48 FIP) with 88 strikeouts and 38 walks over 113.1 innings and this season in two starts he has a 1.59 ERA (2.73 FIP) with eight strikeouts and three walks in 11.1 innings. The only question is what took so long? If they don't mess with him, he should hold value in all formats. This week he gets the Twins on the road. Mixed: $3; AL: $8.

Matt Harrison, Rangers – Activated from the DL on Saturday, Harrison will make his season debut against the Diamondbacks this week after dealing with a back injury that cost him most of the last two seasons. Back in 2012, he had a 3.29 ERA (4.14 FIP) with 133 strikeouts and 59 walks over 213.1 innings, but has since made just six starts in the majors. It's difficult to predict what version of Harrison we'll see on the mound, so for now he only has value in AL-only formats. In the second half of the season, owners should take a wait-and-see approach, as his rehab starts weren't a thing of beauty (6.23 ERA between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock). Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Andrew Heaney, Angels – Through two starts, Heaney has a 1.38 ERA (3.05 FIP) with 12 strikeouts and three walks over 13 innings and is showing why he was considered an elite prospect coming up through the minors. Unfortunately Jered Weaver (hip) should be back following the All-Star break and at that point it's likely we'll see Heaney go back to the minors. For now, he's worth owning in all formats. This coming week he gets the Rockies and Mariners on the road. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Brian Johnson, Red Sox – With a 2.68 ERA (3.32 FIP), 76 strikeouts, and 24 walks over 80.2 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket, it's tough to see what the Red Sox are waiting for to promote Johnson to the majors. This is compounded by the fact that Justin Masterson and his 6.14 ERA (4.77 FIP) belong in the bullpen or elsewhere, as he showed again this week, when the Astros pounded him for five earned runs over just 3.2 innings. There have been rumblings that Johnson is "getting closer" to a promotion, so bidding on him makes sense with every poor outing we see from the Red Sox rotation. For now, stash him where you can. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Matt Moore, Rays – Back from Tommy John surgery, Moore made his season debut last week against the Indians and gave up four earned runs over 4.2 innings with four strikeouts, two walks, and three wild pitches. Erratic to say the least, but bumps along the way are expected as Moore gets readjusted to pitching in the majors again. Never someone who had even average control before the injury, keep an eye on Moore's walks and WHIP. In 2013 he had a 3.29 ERA (4.10 FIP) with 143 strikeouts and 76 walks over 150.1 innings. This week he gets the Royals on the road and Astros at home. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Ivan Nova, Yankees – In his second start, back from Tommy John surgery, Nova looked more dominant than in his first start, as he pitched 5.1 innings and gave up two earned runs with two walks and seven strikeouts against the Angels on the road. In 2013, before he was injured, he had a 3.10 ERA (3.62 FIP) with 116 strikeouts and 44 walks over 139.1 innings. If he can keep this up, he'll hold value in mixed leagues in the second half. This week he gets the Red Sox on the road. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Martin Perez, Rangers – On a rehab assignment following Tommy John surgery at Triple-A Round Rock, Perez is getting close to rejoining the Texas rotation. A 4.11 ERA (4.02 FIP) as a starter with 135 strikeouts and 66 walks over 201.2 innings, Perez had just average command before the injury. When he does come back, he'll likely only have value in deep leagues unless he's able to start missing more bats than ever before. For now, stash him in AL-only formats where you're desperate for pitching depth. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Ervin Santana, Twins – Activated from the restricted list, Santana will make his season debut Sunday against the Royals. A veteran of the AL, he spent 2014 with the Braves in his first season in the NL, where he posted a 3.95 ERA (3.46 FIP) with 179 strikeouts and 63 walks over 196 innings. Considering the ballpark and his experience, Big Erv should hold value in all formats. This coming week he gets the Tigers at home. Mixed: $8; AL: $20.

Dan Straily, Astros – Making his season debut Friday, Straily got lit up by the Red Sox for four earned runs over 4.2 innings while punching out seven batters and walking three in Fenway. Before being promoted to take on the Astros' No. 5 job, he had a 4.06 ERA (3.26 FIP) with 70 strikeouts and 14 walks over 77.2 innings at Triple-A Fresno. Unless he turns things around quickly, Straily may find himself back in Fresno in short order and even then the Astros are buyers in the trade market for a starter, so he may not get many more opportunities. This week he gets the Indians on the road. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Relief Pitching

Andrew Miller, Yankees – On the DL with a forearm injury, Miller needs to be owned in all formats where saves are essential, as he's close to a rehab assignment and will likely be activated following the All-Star break. I didn't even think to mention Miller last week, as most owners likely held onto him, but Dellin Betances has done a fine job as the closer and some may have dropped Miller, fearing his forearm injury was much worse than it turned out to be. With a 1.03 ERA (2.02 FIP), 43 strikeouts, 10 walks, and 17 saves over 26.1 innings, Miller will have value once he returns, even if it's in a setup role. Mixed: $15; AL: Owned.

Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays – In the event that he's still unowned in your league, Osuna needs to be picked up, as he's looking like the frontrunner for the Blue Jays' closer job. He has a 2.21 ERA (2.16 FIP) with 42 strikeouts, 10 walks, and two saves over 36.2 innings. If the Blue Jays were winning more games lately, we'd have a better grasp of the roles, but as is, Steve Delabar has given up five earned runs in his last two outings with four wild pitches and one hit batter and is quickly pitching his way out of the closer conversation. It would make sense for the club to seek a trade for a more proven closer, as Osuna is a 20-year-old rookie, but we're not there yet. Considering the lack of volatility in the AL closer market, bidding up on Osuna is advised. Mixed: $8; AL: $16.

Fernando Rodney, Mariners – Manager Lloyd McClendon wants Rodney to regain the closer role and over his last eight appearances he has not been scored upon. Unfortunately, his command is still lousy, as he has five strikeouts and four walks over that same span. His ERA improved to 5.34 on the season with the recent run, but his FIP is at 4.89, which is almost as crooked as his hat. Consistently inconsistent, Rodney is not going to make this easy on his manager or fantasy owners of Carson Smith, who is the superior talent right now. Mixed: $3; AL: $6.

Catcher

Alex Avila, Tigers – Activated from the DL on Friday, Avila started at first base Saturday as the Tigers adjust to life without Miguel Cabrera, who is expected to be out for six weeks with a calf injury. This means that Avila could be looking at much more playing time than was originally thought, as James McCann has more than held his own in Avila's absence. A career .245/.346/.404 hitter, Avila has more value in on-base percentage leagues than in those that use batting average. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Ryan Hanigan, Red Sox – Hanigan was activated from the DL this week after dealing with a broken finger and missing almost a month of playing time. The team placed Blake Swihart (foot) on the DL, so Hanigan is stepping into a situation where he'll potentially be asked to be the primary backstop with Sandy Leon mixed in. A career .254 hitter, Hanigan is hitting .206 this season with one home run over 76 plate appearances and is unlikely to help many fantasy owners in mixed leagues. In AL-only formats, you may want to own him just for the playing time. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Josh Phegley, A's – While still a backup catcher for the A's, Phegley has proven very helpful to owners when he's been in the lineup, hitting .273/.325/.509 with five home runs over 120 plate appearances. The team has Stephen Vogt in a platoon with Ike Davis at first base, which is opening up time for Phegley. The batting average seems like a shaky bet to hold up in the second half, but the power is real and reason enough to own him in AL-only formats that use two catchers. Mixed: No; AL: $3.

First Base

C.J. Cron, Angels – After mashing at Triple-A Salt Lake to the tune of .323/.347/.667 with six home runs over 98 plate appearances, Cron was promoted back to the majors this week. He'll likely split time at first base and DH with Albert Pujols, as Matt Joyce will be pushed back to left field or the bench. A power hitter, Cron has two home runs in his first four games back and needs to be owned in all deep formats. If you're in a shallower league and are looking for a replacement for Miguel Cabrera, Cron isn't a bad place to start. Mixed: $5; AL: $12.

James Loney, Rays – Loney came off the DL this week after dealing with a broken finger that didn't cost him much time. The Rays really need him to step his offensive game up and help the club as they enter the second half. If Loney doesn't get it going, we could see Richie Shaffer (see below) promoted soon. Loney is hitting .282/.323/.376 this season with two home runs and one stolen base over 127 plate appearances. Mixed: $3; AL: $6.

Jesus Montero, Mariners – The subject of much public ridicule for his weight and defense, among other things, Montero has been tearing it up this season at Triple-A Tacoma, hitting .322/.359/.500 with 13 home runs and two stolen bases over 345 plate appearances. At this point it's fair to ask what the Mariners waiting for to promote him back to the majors. To keep him in the minors seems pointless, as he's been there and done that and is showing he's ready for another challenge. Logistically, if Montero were promoted, Logan Morrison would need to shift to a more part-time role and start playing in the outfield. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Second Base

Micah Johnson, White Sox – Currently at Triple-A Charlotte, Johnson is showing he's in need of a promotion with a .298/.354/.421 batting line, three home runs, and 15 stolen bases over 193 plate appearances. Meanwhile at the major league level, Carlos Sanchez is giving the club nothing offensively, with a .172/.211/.231 batting line and no home runs or stolen bases over 144 PA. Expect Johnson to be up fairly soon, as Sanchez is a big reason why the Pale Hose are by almost any metric the worst team offensively in the majors at the keystone. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Gregorio Petit, Yankees – Petit was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday after being demoted only a few days earlier. An infield utility player with almost no upside offensively, he means more to the Yankees than he does to fantasy owners. On the season he has a .184 batting average and no home runs or stolen bases over 43 plate appearances. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Jonathan Schoop, Orioles – Activated from the DL after a knee injury that kept him out since almost the start of the season, Schoop looks to reclaim the starting second base job, especially with Ryan Flaherty demoted to the minors in a corresponding move. Before he got hurt, the 23-year-old Schoop hit .259 with three home runs over 29 plate appearances and was starting to generate buzz in mixed leagues. His power is legit, but the rest of his skill set is very lacking. For now, he has value in AL-only and deep mixed formats. He'll need to show a better eye at the plate or start making more contact to be relevant in anything shallower than that. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Shortstop

Dusty Coleman, Royals – Promoted from Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .280/.329/.447 with five home runs and three steals over 166 plate appearances, Coleman figures to give the Royals some infield depth. At 28 years old, he is just now making his MLB debut, which should tell you most of what you need to know. If he were pressed into a full-time role, he might offer a handful of stolen bases, but anything more than that would be a stretch. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Jed Lowrie, Astros – Remember him? Lowrie has been out since late May with a thumb injury that required surgery and is still likely to miss the remainder of this month. His job now belongs to Carlos Correa, but he's a capable defender at third base and could even be dealt to a contender looking to upgrade at shortstop. For now, he needs to be on the radar of all owners, as he'll be on fewer and fewer waiver wires as his return approaches. Before leaving, he hit .300/.432/.567 with four home runs and one stolen base over 74 plate appearances. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Ketel Marte, Mariners – Still dealing with a broken thumb, Marte should be ready to return to action sometime shortly after the All-Star break. Before getting injured, he hit .343/.394/.434 with two home runs and 17 stolen bases over 221 plate appearances at Triple-A Tacoma and was looking like a prime candidate to be promoted this summer to put an end to the M's shortstop woes. For now, stash him where you can, as he'll be ready for that promotion quickly once he's healthy. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Chris Taylor, Mariners – Promoted from Triple-A Tacoma this week, Taylor finds himself the backup to Brad Miller, who he previously usurped for the starting job earlier this season. Combined, the two are likely to form a platoon no fantasy owner has the need or patience for. Hopefully a healthy Ketel Marte can come up later this summer and send both packing, but for now, the Mariners and fantasy owners will have to settle for this. At Tacoma, Taylor hit .289/.365/.407 with two home runs and 13 stolen bases over 219 plate appearances. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Third Base

Joey Gallo, Rangers – Sent to Triple-A Round Rock this week, Gallo needs to be scooped up in any AL-only and deep mixed-league formats where he was dropped. Predictably, he hit for power with five home runs over 98 plate appearances while he was up and struggled to make contact with a .218 batting average. He skipped Triple-A on his way to the majors, so the time at Round Rock will likely serve him well until another opportunity arises. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.

Jefry Marte and Andrew Romine, Tigers – With Miguel Cabrera (calf) out for the next six weeks, it'll be interesting to see how the Tigers make up for his loss. One option is to have Alex Avila pick up some of the slack, though he's not all that well versed with the position defensively. Another option is to use Marte, who was promoted from Triple-A Toledo, where he hit .271/.337/.497 with 13 home runs and seven stolen bases over 323 plate appearances. He's a third baseman by glove though, so that might be a stretch for him defensively. Still, with Romine, the two might be enough to patch things together until the team finds a better plan. Romine is hitting .314/.355/.443 this season with two home runs and five stolen bases over 77 PA, but would be a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound in terms of replacing Cabrera offensively. Another option would be to shift Victor Martinez to first base, but that doesn't seem like something manager Brad Ausmus wants to explore yet. For now Marte and Romine are low-end options, even in AL-only formats, until we see how this all shakes out. Both mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Miguel Sano, Twins – Promoted from Double-A Chattanooga this week, Sano is settling in as the Twins' everyday DH after Kennys Vargas was optioned to the minors. An elite prospect when healthy, Sano hit .315/.400/.601 with 11 home runs and four stolen bases over 210 plate appearances from the start of May through when he was promoted from Chattanooga. Likely to swing and miss a fair bit, Sano has the power to make up for it, as he adjusts to the jump in level of competition. A third baseman by glove, Sano needs to be owned in all formats until he proves otherwise. Mixed: $7; AL: $16.

Richie Shaffer, Rays – With two home runs this week, Shaffer is up to 11 on the season over just 126 plate appearances and is hitting .284/.373/.661 at Triple-A Durham. Ready for another challenge offensively, there's no clear spot for Shaffer in the Rays' lineup after James Loney came off the DL this week. It might make some sense to promote Shaffer anyway and let him share time with Loney, but at 24 years old, he's still developing and needs everyday at-bats. For now, stash him where you can, as the Rays need all the offensive help they can get and Shaffer could be up later this month if he keeps this up. Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Outfield

Alejandro De Aza, Red Sox – De Aza has started to warm up at the plate, as his playing time has increased now that Rusney Castillo is back in the minors. In the last week he has five extra-base hits and four runs, which makes him relevant in all formats. The return of Shane Victorino means we're likely to see De Aza in a platoon, but even still, he was unlikely to face many lefties anyhow. At 31 years old, he isn't running as much as he used to, but the power is still there. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Delino DeShields Jr., Rangers – On a rehab assignment due to a hamstring injury, DeShields is close to rejoining the Rangers. When he left, he was getting everyday at-bats, but that was when Josh Hamilton was injured. Now that Hamilton is back, it'll be difficult for him to get as much playing time. A Rule 5 pick this offseason, DeShields is hitting .269/.358/.386 with 13 stolen bases over 168 plate appearance this season and should have some value in AL-only formats when he returns. Mixed: $5; AL: Owned.

Garrett Jones and Aaron Judge, Yankees – With Carlos Beltran (oblique) going on the DL on Friday, Jones has started to see regular playing time in right field as the team is still without Jacoby Ellsbury (knee). Ellsbury may be back later this week, though he'll likely be held out until after the All-Star break, meaning Jones will have some short-term value in AL-only formats. On the season, Jones is hitting just .225 with five home runs over 119 plate appearances. Promoted from Double-A Trenton after hitting .284/.350/.516 with 12 home runs over 280 PA, Judge is hitting .300/.420/.425 with one home run over 50 plate appearances at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With Beltran and Ellsbury hurt, it's fair to wonder if we might see Judge promoted to the majors, if only for a cup of coffee. The top prospect in the Yankees system, the 23-year-old Judge is not far off from being MLB ready and considering how prospects are promoted these days, it's wise to have him on your radar in AL-only formats. Jones - Mixed: $1; AL: $3. Judge - Mixed: No; AL: $2.

Jake Marisnick, Astros – Set to be activated this Sunday, Marisnick (hamstring) will give the Astros' outfield a lift as they deal with the loss of George Springer for the next six weeks. Domingo Santana was optioned to the minors in a corresponding move, as the team shuffles things around and also welcomes back Alex Presley (see below). Marisnick has a nice blend of power and speed with five home runs and 11 stolen bases over 200 plate appearances, but he doesn't make enough contact – he's hitting just .245 – to be a real asset in mixed leagues. For now, expect him to see regular at-bats as the team massages him back into the lineup. Mixed: $3; AL: Owned.

Daniel Nava, Red Sox – Currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket, Nava (thumb) is nearing a return to the Red Sox, though there is no clear spot on the roster for him. Before his injury, he hit .159 with no home runs or stolen bases over 73 plate appearances. Considering the team has up to 20 days to keep Nava on said rehab assignment, it may be a little while before we see him back with the team. Last season he hit .270 with four home runs and four stolen bases over 408 PA. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Alex Presley, Astros – Called up from Triple-A Fresno when George Springer was put on the DL for the next six weeks, Presley doesn't figure to get much playing time in an already-crowded outfield that occasionally sees Evan Gattis in left field. At Fresno he hit .308/.345/.392 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases over 257 plate appearances. If Presley were pressed into more playing time, the Astros would likely recall Domingo Santana, rather than give Presley regular at-bats. Mixed: No; AL: $1.

Grady Sizemore, Rays – Promoted from the minors last Sunday, Sizemore has come out guns blazing, hitting .409 in his first week of action with one home run and one stolen base. As a lefty, he's serving as the DH for the Rays against righties, which should lend him value in AL-only formats until he fizzles out. Earlier this season with the Phillies, he hit .245 with no home runs or stolen bases over 104 plate appearances. His comeback makes for a nice story, but narratives don't fill up the box score. Mixed: $2; AL: $5.

Shane Victorino, Red Sox – Activated from the DL on Friday, Victorino (calf) is likely to find himself in a platoon with Alejandro De Aza in right field. At 34 years old with contact and power rates in decline and a history of injuries leaving him unlikely to run much, it's hard to envision a scenario where Victorino is of use in mixed leagues. For now, expect to see him in there against lefties as the team attempts to pull out of their first-half funk. Mixed: $1; AL: $3.

Note: If you have anyone else you'd like me to discuss, just drop a line in the comments section.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Martinez
Andrew Martinez writes about baseball and football. He is a native Texan and roots for the Astros, Rockets, Texans, and Rice Owls.
College Baseball Betting: Expert Picks for Saturday, March 2
College Baseball Betting: Expert Picks for Saturday, March 2
Spring Training Job Battles: NL Central
Spring Training Job Battles: NL Central
College Baseball Picks Today: Best Bets for Friday, March 1
College Baseball Picks Today: Best Bets for Friday, March 1
Six Mid-Round Pitchers with League Winning Upside (Video)
Six Mid-Round Pitchers with League Winning Upside (Video)